postpomo's picture
postpomo from Canada is reading words words words January 7, 2012 - 3:27pm

Inspired by this column about metafiction, here's a thread to continue the discussion. Metafiction is one of my favourite forms (not really a genre), as it is a way of writing about writing in the body of fiction (as opposed to how-to or non-fiction).

As a result of the comments following the article, I just picked up a couple of books by Paul Auster. Will let you know if they are mega-meta or what.

My favourite metafictional novel is Albert Angelo by B.S. Johnson. The most noteworthy device in it is a physical hole cut in two consecutive pages, which creates a kind of foreshadowing. He also plays with formatting a lot, which back in the 1960s probably gave his publisher and typesetter nightmares. The man could have worked wonders with a modern wordprocessor.

One of my favourite metafictional films is Adaptation, where there are levels upon levels of meta - like the film's screenwriter, Charlie Kaufman, portrays himself (acted by Nicholas Cage), in the attempt to write a screenplay for a non-fiction book the Orchid Thief (which is an actual book, and its author appears in the film). Kaufman's twin brother decides to start working on a screenplay of his own, in which he weaves every known movie cliche you can imagine, which slowly starts to influence the events of the film we're watching.

My favourite metafictional play is Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead. Just see it. It's brilliant.

Anyone else?


L.W. Flouisa's picture
L.W. Flouisa from Tennessee is reading More Murakami December 29, 2013 - 10:38am

So thats what meta-fiction is. I've been trying to find out what that is for a long time.

Though I'd never do this personally, I've always been fascinated by novels done largely in visual or shape poetry. Though I don't think I've ever seen it.

XyZy's picture
XyZy from New York City is reading Seveneves and Animal Money December 29, 2013 - 2:20pm

Mark Z. Danielewski's last two novels were prominently visual and shaped in a poetic way. House of Leaves was also very visual and plays with text-ures/typesetting but much more... prose. But if you're interested, definitely check out Only Revolutions and The Fifty Year Sword. But they're all fine examples of meta-fiction, and in my opinion, you can't go wrong with any of them (though House of Leaves is my favorite.)

Also Steven Hall's The Raw Shark Texts does a lot of fun things, and is not as ergodic as Danielewski's work.

XyZy's picture
XyZy from New York City is reading Seveneves and Animal Money December 29, 2013 - 2:36pm

Which reminds me: